The Bay Area Asian Unity (BAAU) organization recently sponsored a haiku competition for Pinewood, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Gunn and Foothill high schools.
BAAU collected 300 student-composed haikus from the schools and awarded the authors of the 10 best entries $50 gift certificates to various local Japanese restaurants, including Fuki Sushi, Kaygetsu and Mikuni. The restaurants and E3 Youth Philanthropy co-sponsored the competition.
The winners of the competition were Cynthia Wang, Marco Siccardo, Keli Thurston, Sarah Foad, Anny Dow, Nhut T. Nguyen, Preethi Subramanian, Kelly Wang, Faye Cheng and Shweta Gouind.
According to Mingbo Gong, president and founder of BAAU and a junior at Pinewood, the purpose of the haiku competition was to expose students to Asian literature and spread awareness of Asian culture.
"From this project, we wanted students to learn more about Asian literature while having fun," Gong said. "The BAAU mission is to bring Asian culture to the community."
Gong said the project succeeded.
"I am satisfied (with the competition), and I hope that more schools will participate in our future projects so that we can expand awareness of Asian culture in a larger community," Allen Lee, BAAU member, said.
Members of BAAU are planning several other projects to promote Asian culture.
"We will have more projects, such as an Asian food drive, and we're planning to start an Asian culture magazine," Gong said.
BAAU has teamed up with One Dollar For Life, a non-profit organization, to help raise funds for the construction of an elementary school in Indonesia, a project in which 10 of its member high schools are participating. BAAU members have encouraged students who want to help with the project to donate money through classroom boxes in January, when fundraising for the Indonesia project will officially begin.